Tag Archives: China

TransContainer and Chinese logistics company agreed on joint delivery of goods to Russia and Belarus

April 17 2023

PJSC TransContainer (part of Delo Group) and Heilongjiang International Logistics Company Dragon-Link LLC (a subsidiary of Heilongjiang Transportation Investment Group, China) will jointly develop container transportation from China to Russia and Belarus. The document provides for cooperation in the field of organizing the delivery of goods through land border and the ports of the Far East and St. Petersburg using the TransContainer fleet, the press service of the Russian company reports.

Alexander Podylov, Vice President for Commercial Affairs of TransContainer, and Han Bing, General Director of Heilongjiang International Logistics Company Dragon-Link LLC, signed the corresponding agreement at the international exhibition TransRussia 2023.

PJSC TransContainer is the leader in container railway logistics in Eurasia. It operates more than 130 thousand containers with a capacity of about 200 thousand TEU and 40 thousand container platforms. The company owns 40 railway terminals in Russia and a 58.67% share in Sakhalin Shipping Company (SASCO) having a fleet of 13 vessels. The Delo group is the sole shareholder.

Source: https://portnews.ru/news/346045/

Chinese CMES shipping company takes delivery of its first rigid sail supertanker

September 29 2022

The ship will carry energy resources between the Middle and Far East

Shanghai shipping company China Merchants Energy Shipping Co. Ltd. (CMES, part of the CMG Group) has taken delivery of the New Aden, the first environmentally friendly VLCC oil tanker. The special feature of the supertanker is that it is the first vessel of its type to use four rigid sails as an auxiliary propulsion system along with other technological solutions that ensure fuel economy during operation, the industry portal Maritime Executive reported.

The New Aden tanker is the 100th oil tanker built by China’s Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company (DSIC). It was named after the first ship of the fleet launched 150 years ago.

The new VLCC tanker has a length of 332.8 m and a deadweight of 300,000 tons. It is equipped with a system of four rigid sails, which are made of carbon fiber developed by Guangwei Composite Materials. Each sail has a height of about 39.6 m and a surface area of ​​almost 13 thousand sq. ft. The sails are raised and turned by a fully automatic system.

According to the DSIC shipbuilding company and its parent CSSC company, the ship was designed to transport energy resources between the Middle and Far East. According to the creators of the vessel, its operation will provide annual fuel savings of 9.8% and emission reductions of over 2.9 thousand tons of carbon. The vessel is also equipped with the latest technology to reduce sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions in accordance with EEDI and EEXI standards.

In 2018, the DSIC shipyard installed two rigid sails on a VLCC tanker that was also under construction for China Merchants.

The shipbuilding company DSIC, which has been cooperating with CMES since 2007, has already built more than 30 large-capacity vessels with a total deadweight of almost 9 million tons for the Shanghai shipping company.

Source: https://portnews.ru/news/336274/

Operation of icebreakers was discussed at the opening of the Russian-Chinese laboratory of polar technologies

September 27 2022

China intends to improve the level of technology for operations in ice conditions

St. Petersburg State Maritime Technical University (SPbGMTU) and Harbin Engineering University (HEU) solemnly held an online opening ceremony of the Russian-Chinese laboratory of polar technologies and equipment and the first meeting of the laboratory’s academic council. The Academic Council consists of leading experts from SPbGMTU, HEU and specialized organizations in Russia and China, the press service of the Russian university reports.

An agreement to establish a joint laboratory under the Belt and Road Initiative was signed between the universities in 2019. The project was supported by the governments of Russia and China and included in the action plan within the framework of the years of Russian-Chinese scientific, technical and innovation cooperation.

The co-heads of the laboratory, Vice-President of HEU Han Duanfeng and Director of the International Cooperation Department of SPbGMTU Professor Kirill Rozhdestvensky spoke about the results and promising areas of cooperation. Members of the academic council took part in the discussion. For example, Wu Gang, an employee of Research Institute No. 708 Maric, one of the designers of the Chinese Snow Dragon icebreaker, said that he was designing equipment and machinery for the Arctic. “My supervisor studied at LSI (Leningrad Shipbuilding Institute). We have a good understanding of Russian-made icebreakers. We want to improve the level of our technology, we need new methods and concepts for the operation of ice ships,” Wu Gang said.

Professor of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) Alexander Bekker emphasized that the work of the laboratory will enhance the opportunities of universities in the study of the Arctic. Kirill Sazonov, head of the laboratory of the Krylov State Research Center (KSRC), singled out for research the problem of the movement of large-capacity vessels in ice conditions, the need to calculate the characteristics of ice formations and study the properties of ice.

Professor Vladimir Tryaskin spoke about the important task of designing icebreaker structures according to new requirements for ice loads, and creating special software. Professor Vadim Goncharov spoke about research in the field of Arctic ecology and about the importance of involving students in work.

Source: https://portnews.ru/news/336143/

The first own container ship started regular service between the ports of China and Vladivostok

The capacity of the container ship is 704 TEU

August 24 2022

Photo from VMPP Telegram channel

Container ship ‘Transit Shamora’ arrived at the berth # 42 of the “Pervomaisky” terminal of Vladivostok seaport (VMPP). This is the first vessel owned by the “Transit” regular maritime service, which connects the ports of China and VMPP. The vessel sailing under the Russian flag was built in 2008, its capacity is 704 TEU, deadweight 8500 t.

The “Transit” sea line provides direct service Qingdao (China) – Xingang (China) – Vladivostok without reloading in Busan. The transit time on the way from the ports of China to the VMPP is 4 days, with a regularity of one flight every two weeks.

The launch of a new own ship of the sea line will reduce delivery times and increase the throughput of the transport corridor between Russia and China, according to VMPP.

Source: PortNews

Chinese Foreign Ministry Expresses Dissatisfaction with US Attempts to Impose Sanctions against Russian Oil Supplies to China

July 27 2022  

The Chinese authorities are categorically against attempts by the United States to impose unilateral sanctions on Russian oil supplies to China. This was announced on Wednesday by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

“China is categorically against such illegal unilateral sanctions,” he said at a briefing, answering a question from TASS about how the PRC authorities feel about such plans by the United States. “China and Russia carry out normal trade and economic cooperation on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect “.

As the Chinese diplomat clarified, Beijing’s cooperation with Moscow is not aimed against anyone. “We will also not tolerate external interference,” Zhao Lijian stressed.

As Bloomberg reported earlier, US senators led by Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have proposed sanctions against companies involved in the sale of Russian oil and other energy resources to China. The bill provides for penalties for any organization that insures or registers tankers that transport oil or liquefied natural gas from Russia to China.

Editorial comment. Playing with fire. It is clear that Republican Senator Marco Rubio and his colleagues are primarily pursuing the goals of the election campaign and would like to embarrass the Democratic administration by accusing it of “insufficient” toughness towards Russia and, at the same time, ignite the fire of a trade war with China, which Donald Trump failed to accomplish fully. However, the absurdity of dictating whom, from whom and for how much to buy is so obvious that the US executive branch will hardly dare to subscribe to the initiative of the Rubio group.

Source: https://portnews.ru/digest/23246/

TransContainer will launch a new multimodal service from China to Russia through the port of Vostochny

March 28 2022

PJSC TransContainer will launch a new multimodal service for cargo transportation from the Chinese ports of Taicang and Ningbo to the regions of the Russian Federation through the terminal of the Eastern Stevedoring Company. The service is focused on transportation of consumer goods from China for small, medium and large businesses in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk and other cities of Russia. The departure of the first ship from the port of Taicang is scheduled for early April. Transit time on the sea shoulder will be 3-4 days. Four departures are planned monthly on the route Taicang / Ningbo – Vostochny. Trains from the Far East to the regions of the Russian Federation will run on a weekly basis as part of the service. In the future, sea transportation will be additionally organized from the port of Ningbo, and delivery to Taicang from the ports of Qingdao, Xingang, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Xiamen will also be available.

Source: PortNews.ru

Will Russian oil go to Asia?

March 25 2022

The US has imposed an embargo on Russian oil imports. Deliveries to the EU countries in the near future are under a big question. However, Russian exports to other destinations have already started to grow. For example, this week Indian Nayara Energy oil refiner acquired Russian oil after a year-long hiatus, having bought about 1.8 million barrels of Urals oil from Trafigura trader.

Apparently, the countries that have not imposed sanctions against Russia will buy more of its oil. The obvious options for increasing flows are China and India. However, such a solution would require China to be ready to enter into the conflict with Western countries. The alternative is India, which is already increasing purchases of Russian oil. However, when supply flows change, inevitable difficulties will arise due to the limited capacity of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline and a significant increase in the cost of freight for transportation from ports in the European part of Russia. The redirection of Russian oil supplies from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region will double the average delivery time (from 15 to about 30 days), which will increase the need for tankers. The Russian fleet is able to independently provide only about a third of the sea transportation of oil and oil products. Russian tankers are more suitable for the transportation of crude oil. As for petroleum products, its fleet can transport only 17% of total exports. Due to the fact that Russian refineries are located mainly in the European part of the country, transporting oil products by tankers is more expensive than transporting crude oil, and therefore it is more difficult to redirect gasoline and fuel oil to Asian markets.

The search for new markets in this case will not be a problem: the most significant increase in demand for crude oil in the coming years is expected in Asia, primarily in China and the developing countries of the region. However, it will take some time to reorient the Russian oil industry to the east. In the short term the conclusion of new supply contracts, solving logistics issues and chartering tankers is expected, in the longer term, the implementation of new pipeline projects is considered. 

Source: PortNews.ru


Iurii V. Vedernikov

Naval Engineer, Senior Research Fellow,

Museum of Russian Submarine History (St, Petersburg)

Author of the “Red Dragon. PRC Navy in the Beginning of XXI Century” monograph


China’s economic infiltration into the global space is multifaceted and multi-vector, and has a deeper nature than it might seem at first glance. In this movement, the key role belongs to the port infrastructure, through which the “Middle Kingdom” is consolidating its presence in a particular region of the world in private and the result is Beijing’s efforts to “Go Outside” in general. The article brought to your attention is exclusively of an overview nature, giving a general idea of ​​the subject of research, which is objectively limited by the framework of a journal publication.

The foreign economic dominant in the development of China dates back to 1998, with the beginning of the implementation of the fourth stage of the “Strategy of four modernizations” (1978) – the “Go outside” policy focused on the growth of export potential and the full use of the resources of the world market for the development of the national economy. As part of the further development of this policy, in the fall of 2013, China came up with a geo-economic project – ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI), with the declared goal  “…to establish closer relations between the countries of Asia, Europe and Africa and to raise the mutually beneficial cooperation with these countries to a new historical height…”.

According to initial estimates, it was expected to involve about 40-65 developing countries along the ‘Belt and Road’ geographic area in the BRI orbit. However, more than 100 countries took part in the first ‘Belt and Road’ Forum (2017). In modern times (January 2021), within the framework of project interaction, China has concluded agreements with 140 countries and 31 international organizations. Among the modern participants are 27 countries of Europe, 38 countries of Asia, 11 countries of the North American and 8 countries of the South American regions, 45 countries of Africa and 11 countries of Oceania.

Maritime transport is the main connecting element of the BRI, along with the railways. Its use is carried out in the Concept of Maritime Cooperation in the Construction of the ‘Belt and Road’ (2018) along three Blue economic corridors, including routes:

– across the Indian and Atlantic oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea – to the shores of Africa and Europe;

– in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean – to the shores of Australia and Oceania;

– through the Northern Sea Route.

In these conditions, it is strategically important for China to have access to port infrastructure in various countries of the World, since the port, as such, is a key point for managing sea cargo flows. Let us consider the main modern results of China’s investments in the port infrastructure of the countries of the world. The first and dominant strategic space for Chinese investment in port infrastructure is the South Sea Route, which runs through the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and Atlantic waters.

Since 2008, the Chinese company “COSCO Shipping” began buying shares in the Greek port of Piraeus and by the end of 2016 received a controlling stake. The port came under the full control of the PRC

At the first stage of this advancement, China carried out goods transportation through the ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg, making the first investments even before the start of the BRI project. Since 2011, Chinese companies acquired (fully or partially) the terminals in many European ports, including Spanish Barcelona, French Le Havre, Dunkirk, Montoir (Saint-Nazaire) and Fos-sur-Mer (Marseille), Belgian Antwerp and Bruges, Italian Taranto and a terminal in Malta.

Since 2008, the Chinese company “COSCO Shipping” began buying shares in the Greek port of Piraeus and by the end of 2016 received a controlling stake. The port came under the full control of the PRC, investments in the modernization of the technical infrastructure and the development of the port personnel capacity amounted to about 500 million euros. This was one of the factors behind the growth of Piraeus cargo turnover from 433 thousand TEU in 2008 to 3.7 million TEU in 2016. In 2018, Piraeus became the second largest port in the Mediterranean.

To ensure commodity supplies to Western Europe, Beijing acquired assets in the ports of North Africa: Alexandria, Port Said and El-Dekheil in Egypt, Suez Canal, Oran in Algeria.

At the same time, the business media reported on possible Chinese investments in the ports of the northern Adriatic – Italian Venice, Trieste and Ravenna, Slovenian Koper and Croatian Rijeka. These ports are integrated by railways into the ‘Mediterranean corridor’ linking Milan, Lyon, Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Seville and Valencia, the ‘Baltic-Adriatic corridor’ – to Graz, Katowice, Warsaw, Gdansk, Kaunas and Riga, in the Black Sea direction – to Bucharest and Constanta, and the Central European direction – to Salzburg, Munich, etc. Less investment activity was observed in the port infrastructure of the Baltic and Black Seas.

It was reported in 2017 that Chinese investors were interested in the assets of the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk (formerly the Ilyichevsk Commercial Sea Port). However, the following year, the legality of these investments was questioned and no active actions in this direction have been identified by the present time.

Back in 2006, the Hong Kong operator “Hutchison Port Holdings”, which owns 52 terminals in 26 countries of the world (2015), became the owner of container terminal in the port of  Gdynia in Poland. In 2009, Beijing acquired 100% of the shares of container terminal in Stockholm. In the fall of 2020, it was reported that the ports of Lithuania and Latvia were also included in the sphere of interests of Beijing. During 2014-2016, on the premises of the Nikolaev commercial port (Ukraine), the leading Chinese grain trader “COFCO Group” built a terminal for the import of Ukrainian grain products. It was reported in 2017 that Chinese investors were interested in the assets of the Ukrainian port of Chornomorsk (formerly the Ilyichevsk Commercial Sea Port). However, the following year, the legality of these investments was questioned and no active actions in this direction have been identified by the present time. In 2016 – 2019, China began the reconstruction of the Bulgarian port of Burgas (€ 20 million) and Varna (€ 120 million).

The use of Piraeus as a hub port and the capacities of the Mediterranean and Black Sea ports that gravitate towards it form the preconditions for the transformation of the structure of the existing freight traffic.

We believe that the implementation of these projects poses a serious competitive threat to the Northern European ports – Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg, etc., since the fastest container delivery from Shanghai to Piraeus takes 21 days, while from Shanghai to Hamburg – 31. The use of Piraeus as a hub port and the capacities of the Mediterranean and Black Sea ports that gravitate towards it form the preconditions for the transformation of the structure of the existing freight traffic.

As a result, if by the end of the 2000s China controlled 1% of European container terminals, then in 2017 it controlled 6.5% and in 2018 – 10% of these capacities. The countries of the African continent are gradually becoming the main recipients of Chinese investments. In the period from 2005 to 2020, the total volume of Chinese financial investments in the countries of the Black Continent amounted to about $ 370.3 billion, carried out by the “China Development Bank” with the mediation of the “Sino-African Development Fund”. Along with lending to the governments of African states, infrastructure projects are the main objects of investment. In total, 5,756 km of railways, 4,335 km of roads, 34 thermal power plants, as well as 10 large and about one thousand small hydroelectric power plants were built by the end of 2016.

Indian Ocean acquires the position and qualities inherent in the Mediterranean Sea throughout human history, gradually becoming one of the central water spaces of the World. For China, a presence in the Indian Ocean is a prerequisite for ensuring its safe advance to the West, protecting its investments on the European and African continents.

In these conditions, Chinese investment in African ports aims both at ensuring its commodity supplies to Europe / Southern Mediterranean, as well as at supporting ongoing infrastructure projects in continental Africa. China made major investments and acquired shares in the following African ports:  Port de l’Amité and Nouakchott (Mauritania), Conakry (Guinea), Lobito (Angola), Kiribi (Cameroon), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Teme (Ghana), Lecca (Nigeria), Walvis Bay (Namibia), Port-Sudan (Sudan), Doraleh, Damerjog and Tajura (Djibouti), Massawa (Eritrea), Mombasa and Lamu (Kenya), Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo (Tanzania), Maputo and Beira (Mozambique), Ambodifotatra and Tamatave Madagascar).

In the processes of modern transformation of the ‘Global Order’, the Indian Ocean acquires the position and qualities inherent in the Mediterranean Sea throughout human history, gradually becoming one of the central water spaces of the World. For China, a presence in the Indian Ocean is a prerequisite for ensuring its safe advance to the West, protecting its investments on the European and African continents. The Pakistani port of Gwadar became one of the first objects for Chinese investment in the Indian Ocean, the creation of which was announced at the beginning of the XXI century. The construction of the port facilities was carried out by “China Communications Construction Company” and completed in 2007. In 2013, Gwadar seaport was transferred to the management of “Chinese Overseas Port Holdings Limited” for a period of 40 years. In the future, the port will be connected with the territory of China through the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’, the BRI backbone artery to the Middle East.

On the island of Sri Lanka, the port of Hambantota became Chinese.

Middle East: we note that the Hong Kong “Hutchison Port Holdings” owns container terminals (berths) in Basra (Iraq), Ajama, Aachen Bin Rashid and Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) in Persian Gulf, the Port of Sohars (Oman) in the Gulf of Oman, and the Port of Jazar (Saudi Arabia) on the Red Sea (2021). In addition to this, the “Hutchison Port Holdings” owns the ‘Karachi International Container Terminal’ in Pakistan, the container turnover of which in 2015 exceeded 1 million TEU, and in the same year opened a second terminal in Karachi – ‘South Asia Pakistan Terminals’, the container turnover of which in 2020, according to forecasts, was to exceed 2 million TEU. It was reported that “China Harbor Engineering Company” in 2016 built a new port of Doha in Qatar and implemented several projects for Saudi Arabia – two new berths in the port of Ras Az Zwar, the Ma’aben port and the gateway terminal in Jeddah.

On the island of Sri Lanka, the port of Hambantota became Chinese. Back in the early 2000s the government of Sri Lanka received a $ 6.9 billion loan from China and began infrastructure modernization of the country, including the reconstruction of the port of Hambantota conducted by “China Merchants Port Holdings”. In 2017, unable to pay off the debts, the government of Sri Lanka transferred 70% of the shares of the port of Hambantota to China, with the right to lease for 99 years, the obligation not to use it for the basing of Chinese naval forces and while maintaining the Sri Lankan sovereignty over the territory of the port [30]. In addition to this, “China Merchants Port Holdings” has a container terminal in Colombo.

In South-East Asia, Chinese businesses also have port infrastructure assets: in Myanmar, Bangla Desh, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea.

In November 2018, China entered into an agreement with Myanmar to build the Kyaukphyu deep-water port. This port is located on Ramri Island in the Bay of Bengal and is the starting point for the Sino-Myanmar pipelines to the Chinese city of Kunmin. It is believed that this line will help relieve maritime traffic, shorten the time for oil delivery, and avoid the threat to tankers going to China through the Molluk Strait. At the same time, there were plans to build a railway – the ‘Eastern Economic Corridor’, integrating the railways of Myanmar and China, and reaching Singapore and Thailand.

South Pacific, Australia and Oceania are the second global area of ​​Chinese investment in port infrastructure. The advancement of Chinese investments to the Green Continent was largely facilitated by the privatization program of state assets of Australia, including at ports of Brisbane. Sydney, Newcastle and Darwin. In Oceania, China built a port on the island of Espirintu-Santa for the Republic of Vanuatu, with a loan allocated to it. However, over time Vanuatu was unable to pay off its debts and in 2018 leased the port to China.

China is expanding its presence in the ports of the American continents.

The 2013 acquisition of shares in the commercial operator “Terminal Link” opened access to terminal management in Miami and Houston. “Hutchison Port Holdings” owns terminals on the Pacific coast of Mexico at the ports of Estenanda, Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas, the port of Vecarus in the Gulf of Mexico and a cruise terminal in the Bahamas. “Hutchison Port Holdings” also owns two terminals in the ports of Panama and Colon, which form the Panama Canal. “China Merchants Port Holdings” is building port facilities in Santiago de Cuba, berths in the ports of Balbao (Panama) and Man Sanillo (Mexico), signed an agreement on the construction of transshipment ports in Trinidat and Tobago. “China Merchants Port Holdings” is building port facilities in Venezuela and in 2018 acquired 90% of shares in the second largest container terminal in Brazil in the port of Paranagua for $ 765.8 million In the same year, “Cosco Shipping Ports” and the Peruvian government signed an agreement to build the port of Chancay, 75 km from Lima. The project includes five berths with a throughput capacity of 1.4 million tons of bulk cargo and a container terminal with a capacity of 1.5 million TEU per year. The cost of the project is estimated at $ 3 billion. At the same time, Chinese investments are being considered for the construction of a railway that “… will connect producers and miners in Peru and Brazil with the emerging Chinese market, reducing the logistics costs of trade with East Asia and allowing Chinese products to more easily reach the Atlantic coast … “.

The fourth global direction of Chinese investments in port infrastructure, the Arctic waterways, so far has not demonstrated significant progress. Currently, these projects are in a state of negotiations, it is expected that the terminals of Arkhangelsk (Russia), Kirkenes (Norway) and a deep-water port in Iceland will become the objects of investment.

Investments in the port infrastructure abroad have made China one of the leaders among port operators. Three companies should be singled out among the largest investors – “Cosco Shipping Ports”, “China Merchants Port Holdings” and the Hong Kong “Hutchison Port Holdings”. They carry out their global expansion with the support of organizations such as the ”China Development Bank”.

The objects of investment, with rare exceptions, are individual terminals, and not the seaport as a whole. Nodal deep-water ports have priority due to the use of large ships for long distance transportation by the Chinese, which need less port calls along the route. A prerequisite for investment is the creation of not only port facilities, but also the reconstruction of the adjacent transport infrastructure, contributing to the promotion of Chinese goods to the partner country and the import of its goods and natural resources in the opposite direction.

The main forms of China’s investment in port infrastructure are the conclusion of a concession agreement for terminal management, including as part of a consortium, the acquisition of shares in port management companies and investment in terminal operating companies. Another method is the purchase of a port terminal for debts. Thus, the acquisition of the assets of Piraeus occurred in the background of the Greek debt crisis. As for 2021, China is close to acquiring for loan debts the Montenegro port of Bar, the Cameroon port of Kiribi, Mombasa and Labu ports in Kenya and others.

For the host countries, Chinese investments are an opportunity to modernize their port infrastructure on preferential conditions, to obtain other accompanying economic advantages. However, it does not mean that Chinese investors always meet the “green light” among the business environment, political circles and local populations of host countries. Thus, in the process of acquiring the Greek Piraeus, protest sentiments widely spread among the local population. The German Hamburg port operators rejected the “China Communications Construction Company”’s project for the construction of a new container terminal. The leaders of many countries regard the China’s investments as a possibility for indirect influence on domestic political processes. But, one way or another, we must admit: China is gradually and systematically expanding its presence in the regions of the world, systematically and consistently creating, acquiring and modernizing a network of port terminals as a logistics basis for the implementation of its “Belt and Road” global project.